The Paperless Grocery List

The Paperless Grocery List

GroceriesGoing paperless is about the little wins, and one area where I’ve been really successful is with with our family grocery list. Not only have I eliminated the paper, but (for us), the paperless grocery list works much better.

Here are some ways that you can accomplish this.

A Shared Low(ish) Tech Solution

My friend Michael Schechter has posted about his family’s solution: an app called Listary.

This is an iOS app that has the usual list-making and checking-off functionality, but what makes Listary work for them is the ability for his wife to send him items for the list without her messing around with the app. From his post on the subject:

Best of all, when my wife sends me a list of thirty completely disordered items from the supermarket, I can copy the text, paste it in one box and as long as she hit enter on her phone between ever item it parses every line as a unique entry. Within seconds of receiving her text, I can add and completely reorder the list based on where things are in the store (something she has deemed irrelevant).

A Cross-Platform Solution

On the DocumentSnap Facebook Page, Sarah from the National Association Of Professional Organizers Virtual Chapter shared their latest Tech Tip.

They like an app called OurGroceries because it works on iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

I don’t have experience with OurGroceries, but they seem to like it.

What I Do

I use the stock Reminders app that comes with iOS. I like it because it seamlessly syncs via iCloud, and therefore whether I have my Mac, my iPad, or my iPhone within reach (which is 100% of the time), I can quickly add items.

When I get to the store, I like checking off the items on my iPhone as I throw them in the cart. It makes it easy to see what I have left to find.

Even better, with Siri I can quickly add items to my list by just holding down the Home button. If I say “Add kale to Grocery list”, it will add it to the correct Reminders list. My kids like walking around saying “Add chocolate chip cookies to grocery list”, but fortunately they haven’t figured out the Home button part yet.

This video shows how this works, and it also shows the ability to have shared lists with a family member. I don’t personally use that feature as my wife does not have an iPhone.

I’m sure many of you have your own paperless grocery list workflow. I’d love to hear about it in the comments. It’s been great for my family.

(Photo by GabrielaP93)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 14 comments

Joseph Sievers - September 23, 2017 Reply

Try Paperless. Multiple lists, easily sorted or alphabetized.. For “item I buy frequently”‘ add a period as your first character. That will alphabetize as first in line..

Thanks for the tips.


Nancy - March 10, 2016 Reply

We use Our Groceries ( he uses Apple, I use Android) for all shopping we have to do. It really helps us coordinate our purchasing without having to talk, text or email about it.

Irv B - March 3, 2016 Reply

Went to check out Listary and its two founders have shut the website down and have gone to work at “todolist”

AVRUM - January 18, 2016 Reply

I use Wunderlist for work lists, reminders, grocery list (by store & by person), to-do’s, etc. Items in the list are slidable and “star-able” (allows items need to quickly go to the top of the list, and once acquired, un-starred.

    Brooks Duncan - January 18, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for this Avrum!

How I Manage My Life Without Paper • Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - December 17, 2013 Reply

[…] I wrote more about paperless grocery lists here. […]

Mardi - May 21, 2013 Reply

I've been using SplashShopper since about 2005 (on Palm) and still haven't found anything I like better.

darthverso - May 21, 2013 Reply

We use grocery iQ at my house across two iPhones. There was no sharing Reminders lists when we saw a need for a shared list. What I like about Grocery iQ is that it lets you add what store something is from so if it's only at Costco/Target/Fred Meyer you can add that info. You can also scan barcodes to add to your list, say things and add them, and include 'favorites' so you have quick access to things you regularly purchase. There's a coupon feature that's been added that I don't ever use. For the most part, it works well for us and has been handy in making grocery lists more accurate since it's easy to add something. The hubs can call and say "I'm stopping at the store on my way home" and I can go around the house and verify what's on the list and what needs to be updated.

    Brooks Duncan - May 21, 2013 Reply

    Great tip, thanks!

Lauren H - May 21, 2013 Reply

I have been using the Grocery Gadget app for a while now and have even gotten my husband on board! You can add by selecting something from the list or searching, typing in your own item or scanning (which doesn't work on my ipad 2-camera quality I think); we can each enter from iPhone, iPad or PC and I switch into "shop" mode when I'm in the store and everything is recategorized (ordered by baby products, produce, etc. which is pretty close to aisle layout).

I have the free version which is ad supported. The upgrade is only $1.99- the ads just don't bother me much.

I'm usually not a fan of super-specialized software but this really works for us. The only problem I've run into is when I forget to reset after shopping.

Nym - May 21, 2013 Reply

Personnaly, I use a dedicated note in Evernote with checkboxes i check as i go through the store (as you do).
I have a shortcut on my android home screen to access it with one tap.
I could share this note with my spouse if needed.

    Brooks Duncan - May 21, 2013 Reply

    Very cool Nym, thanks.

Michael Schechter - May 21, 2013 Reply

Thanks for the link and for the suggestion. Still feel like lists are very much a non-answered question. Everyone either goes to niche with groceries or too task focused. I had/have high hopes for Listary, but it's been a while since there's been a significant update.

    Brooks Duncan - May 21, 2013 Reply

    Yeah, I really don't want a "grocery app". I seem to remember hearing about some Drafts wizardry that will do something like your Listary workflow with Reminders. I'll have to play around with that.

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